Celebrity Interviews

Bill Buford: Cookbooks are for wimps

It all started at a dinner party in Buford’s Manhattan apartment. Among the guests was Mario Batali, TV chef and proprietor of acclaimed New York eatery Babbo. He turned out to be the dinner guest from hell. Within moments of his arrival chez Buford, the writer knew inviting him was a mistake. Batali, one of the new breed of alpha-male cooks whose main rule is excess, took over, treating his host to his first lesson in muscular cookery and other guests to a night of macho drinking.

Vikram Seth: A family affair

“It is not as if the book was not well received, it was, and the questions and answers from the floor when I did events were very affecting. But just being there in Berlin, where these things took place, speaking in German and answering these questions, it was,” he pauses, searching for the right words. “It was tougher than it has been for me with other books.”

Antony Beevor: The history man

The Left isn’t going to like Antony Beevor’s book on the Spanish Civil War, but he’s used to controversy – his account of the fall of Berlin elicited heated protests from the Russian ambassador. Danuta Kean talks to him about the joys of digging in the archives, his despair about history students today and his brush with Jackie Onassis

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